Loic Le Meur interviews the CEO of Trivop

21 05 2007

Here is an interesting interview of Thomas Owadenko that Loic Le Meur just uploaded on his blog. Thomas is the CEO of the new travel 2.0 site called Trivop.


[vpod.tv loiclemeur/200710]

Trivop.com is a very good example of a good use of web 2.0 in the travel industry. It is a platform of video reviews of hotels (located in Europe and then in the future in the US).Like I said in the past, the future of hotel reviews is strongly connected to the future of online video; we previously saw the impact of a simple video uploaded on youtube to report a poor hotel room in Madrid. We also saw Tripadvisor launched a video uploading feature on their website to follow this (hotel) trend.

Trivop

Now we have a dedicated website only for hotels which combined a mashup of Google maps, Tripadvisor text reviews and videos generated by hoteliers and guests.In the video Thomas says that it will be focused on hotels for the first 3 years, Trivop does not have a real competitor since there is no other 100% similar site. However it might somehow compete with videos of websites like Youtube, Google Video, DailyMotions etc. and also with sites like www.travelistic.com that have a wider approach and publish video content for everything related to travel.

When Trivop has been launched at the beginning of April 2007, it already had filmed and uploaded about 170 videos of hotels. Trivop will also intend to create a marketplace community where video producers could meet the demand for video of hoteliers.

Ceo Trivop - Thomas OwadenkoDuring the interview Thomas says that not only the hotelier can upload a video but also the guest. As of today I have not been able to find a video generated by a guest, but only video “ordered” by hoteliers, with a very good editing by the way. The only negative comment I would make is that there is no way you can control the playback of the video other than using the pause button. Videos are played sequentially (divided into segments: lobby/standard room/suite etc) just as if you were watching plain old television. When deciding what hotel I want to book, I have a limited available time for making my choice. I need to compare hotel prices, hotels reviews and so on; watching each segment (of about 50sec to 1min40) without having the choice to fast forward the video is time consuming.

In my opinion the challenge for Trivop will be to generate revenue by proposing their services as filmmakers for hoteliers while they offer a free platform for guests to upload their “videos reviews” that could criticize and hurt their own clients.

Anyway I found that the concept of Trivop is innovative and useful for travellers and I wish them the best of success.

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Inside look of the Easyhotel of London (video)

1 05 2007

easyHotel South LexingtonArt Du Service“, a french blog that talks about the service sector in general (with a focus on services in the tourism, telecommunication and banking industry) stayed at the Easyhotel of London and came back with a candid video of the room.

easyHotel brand is part of a larger group known as EasyGroup which also holds easyJet, the famous budget airline mostly known in Europe.

Check below the amateur video of the easyHotel London South Kensington. You will see that the bathroom is as tiny as the toilets of an easyjet aircraft!

[dailymotion 5ixTzFiYomr034nT]

For your information, he booked his room online, willingeasy Hotel room to pay 10 pounds (about 15€) as advertised. In the end he paid 60 euros, his credit card was instantly charged . His room did not have any window, there was only one towel (an extra towel would cost 1 pound at the reception) and a soap; the room came with a TV but you need to buy a remote control from reception (£5 for 10 channels for 24 hours). There is no bar, no restaurant in the hotel.

easyHotels definitely target people in need of a cheap bed … and only a bed! In this case Bruno paid 60€. It’s quite a low cost budget for a hotel in London but maybe there are hostels (with more services) that could compete with this rate.

I just did a search for a hostel centrally located in London on www.Hostelworld.com; I found a private double bedroom in the Smart Hyde Park View hostel (50 meters from Hyde Park) for about 47 pounds with a lot more services included in the price (internet access, full english breakfast, linens, locker, towels, tea making facility, color TV, luggage storage). Besides this it has a 24hours Lounge Bar.

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AC Hotels has been banned from Google!

20 03 2007

I received 2 emails today yesterday telling me that the official websites of the Spanish hotel chain AC Hotels had been banned from Google! Well, this won’t be the first time it happens to a big company, in fact depending on the changes of Google’s algorithm during the so-called Google Dance, many websites can be left behind for usually two main reasons: Poorly designed websites (from a SEO perspective) and/or abuses of SEO techniques..

A lot of companies do not have a clue why they have been banned or penalized from Google index. That’s why I will approach the case of “AC HOTELS” from different angles that respect the following assumption: “Banned from Google= Not Spidered, Not Ranked, Not Indexed”
Read the rest of this entry »

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UK online travel agencies ready to blacklist hotels!

15 03 2007

I just read an article on Travelmole stating that Lowcostbeds.com and OnHolidayGroup have decided to blacklist hotels!

Lowcostbeds logoOnHolidayGroup

Both UK companies will use a system called Travelsafe in order to be able to determine what hotels must be blacklisted or not. I know for a fact that in the past Opodo also partnered with Travelsafe in order to perform health and safety audit with its hotels.
According to Travelmole, Lowcostbeds.com and OnHolidayGroup will use the system to be Travelsafe systemable to blacklist the hotels, apartments and villas that does not satisfy the new standards; I have no information about those specific standards yet, but there will be a focus on safety standards in such areas as fire, food hygiene, and swimming pools.
About child safety, upon completion of the audit, Travelsafe will classify hotels into 4 categories: Gold, Silver, Bronze and the ones that are said to be non compliant.
It will be offered the possibilities to assist hotels that are said to be non compliant to implement the necessary improvements. If they refuse, there will be “blacklisted and banned from all Travelsafe member sites.

This new “hotel trend” for safety accommodations got its root from last September tragedy when two young children past away from carbon monoxide poisoning in Corfu. I found an article of the Independent (London) reporting that the mother of the two children was highly motivated to push the industry leaders to take measures to prevent such tragedies in the future. It seems that she has been heard!

There are already “no fly” lists, I guess a “no-stay” list is a logical next step in the industry..

Note: ABTA signed an agreement with another system called Argent Health and Safety to release its own health and safety database this week: ABTA Resort Check (I removed the link.

If British OTA are about to blacklist hotels, Australian hotels already blacklist guests

Guest Behaving Badly logoI have seen several different types of blacklisting in the past:I have read about hoteliers in Australia who blacklist “bad” guests on a dedicated website launch on December 2006: Guest Behaving Badly GBB. Its product manager Josh Ginty said “more than 1000 holiday property providers nationally have already joined the database.

This article on USA today’s hotel blog also has very interesting comments regarding this issue.

The rationale behind this hotel trend? “Customers have the ability to rate hotels with websites such as TripAdvisor.com. So why shouldn’t hotels be able to rate customers?” as reported by Daniel J. Solove in a very interesting article called “The rise of customer blacklists”.

Who should be blacklisted next?

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